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Proposed apprenticeship reforms could 'endanger' progress, employers warn

Proposed reforms to apprenticeships in England could “endanger” the good progress already made, a leading employers’ association will warn today.

Stewart Segal, chief executive of the Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP), will say that while providers share the government’s aim to simplify the apprenticeship programme and make employers more engaged, some of the current proposals will not deliver those objectives.

Mr Segal will tell delegates at the Apprenticeship Debate in London that the plan to fund employers directly through the tax system could cause “major disruption” for smaller businesses who won’t want to deal with the bureaucracy.

AELP wants employers to have more choice as to how they fund apprenticeships, either through government funding or a training provider of their choice.

Mr Segal will tell delegates: “We already have an apprenticeship programme with strong employer commitment and high quality delivery. 

“It works for all ages, in all sectors and at different levels of vocational learning, generating high satisfaction rates among employers and apprentices. 

“There is certainly more to do but the reforms as currently proposed could endanger the success and hard won credibility of apprenticeships.

“We need a genuine partnership approach between government, employers, providers and others to secure further growth in the programme.”    

The government is due to launch a consultation on the proposed reforms shortly, and has already suggested that it may need a different system to manage funding for the smallest of employers.

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